Food Allergies - Can They be Prevented?
The most common food allergies in young children are eggs, milk, peanuts, fish, tree nuts, wheat and soy. What can you do to prevent food allergies in your child? While there is no clear answer to this, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises the following:
- Breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of life
- If breastfeeding is not an option or not exclusively breastfeeding, the use of hydrolyzed infant formulas are suggested for "at risk" infants. This is when there is at least one first-degree relative, parent or sibling with a food allergy
- When ready to begin complementary foods around the age of 4-6 months, the AAP no longer recommends waiting to introduce foods that contain potential allergens, unless the infant is experiencing allergic reactions
It's also important to note that many common food allergies, including those from milk, egg, wheat and soy, often resolve during childhood. Peanut, tree nut, fish and shellfish allergies can as well, but are more likely to remain into adulthood.
If your baby does have a sensitivity or allergy and a change in diet is necessary, a variety of hypo-allergic formulas are available to order from your Big Y Pharmacy and Wellness Center. Sometimes the formulas are even covered by insurance, so be sure to check with your individual plan as well as your child's pediatrician. Your friendly Big Y Pharmacist is available to answer any questions you may have as well.